Drivel that cannot fit in a single panel comic.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Delusions of comedy

The rock's original punch line was, "I'm stoned". I thought, "I have no f*ck*ng arms!" was funnier. Not that good a gag to begin with so improvement proved difficult.

Spent most of yesterday evening watching My Life on the D List with Kathy Griffin. Managed to cook something and put clean clothes on the bed. Did not make it as far as folding and putting up the clean clothes. I posted the above cartoon.

I'm trying to get through the wall of sleepiness that hits me from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. Pretty amazing that I can be so sleepy despite the Arctic conditions in my office. I'm surprised I have not destroyed a few bras with my nipples.

I also watched a little bit of Last Comic Standing. I watch a fair amount of stand-up comedy. Have become a bit of a comedy snob. The fart and dick jokes always get a laugh but other than that I can be quite a snob. I no longer find Carlos Mencia funny. Too much "I'm going so say something really rude!" and "Freedom of speech!" Carlos Mencia has some humorous takes on race and class relations and his ethnicity allows him to bring it up. He stops being funny to me when he lets the message supersede the joke.

I watch a lot of stand-up and often think I could do that. I often dream of doing stand-up and occasionally make a few baby steps toward that goal - write some jokes, maybe try putting something on YouTube, putting together a bit for the church coffee house and even think about traveling to a city where auditions for Last Comic Standing are happening (Is that show still on the air? I caught it on Bravo.). People have told me that I am funny and that I should do it. Sometimes reality gets to me - do I really want to do this enough to go to crappy clubs and try to entertain drunks? Do I really want to do all that traveling? Can I handle the heckling? Do I really want to do this?

I think writing comedy would be a better choice for me. I write the jokes, someone else tells them.

For those who actually do stand-up, a few pointers from a comedy snob:

  1. The majority of Americans do not live in Los Angeles or New York City. The L.A./ NYC jokes don't play well in Dallas.
  2. A few ethnicity/ religion specific jokes are okay but don't make it the whole act. The nun nightmare stories get a bit old. (Maybe there are no known UU comedians because our religion does not provide sufficient fodder - one can only tell so many coffee jokes. Growing up, I went to UU Religious Education every Sunday, oh my god, the horrors of learning tolerance and being allowed to form my own beliefs! All the snacks were organic! I was so jealous of the Baptist kids who got Twinkies during their Sunday Bible classes. One time someone brought organic Twinkies to RE but those tasted like free-range chicken shit.)
  3. Dick and fart jokes are funny but again don't make it the whole act.
  4. I don't give a shit about your children. And if your partner is so damn psychotic - leave! The drama is not worth the material.
  5. White comedians, if you should appear on a BET comedy show, just be your funny self - no need to pander to the audience. (It would be funny if you made fun of the white person in the front row just like all the black comedians - turn the cliche around. That is part of a bit I wrote - stand up comedy through correspondence school - white girl gets the black comic edition and does the cliche stuff but delivers it stereotypically white as possible.)
  6. Just spouting random pop cultural references does not make an act - substance please.
  7. Profanity - use it appropriately

Do not use any of the jokes above without permission and credit, please.


jacqueline said...

You are funny... and there are LOTS of UU jokes. After years of listening to Prairie Home Companion joke shows I should have memorized one, but alas I am limited in my skills.

Toonhead said...

Thanks for the compliment.

Garrison Kiellor and Prairie Home Companion come up a lot when discussing UU jokes. The humor is mocking in a gentle way and UUs have enough of a sense of humor to appreciate it. I just see very few UU jokes coming from UUs (other than coffee, burning question marks and going door to door and saying nothing - mostly repeating things said on PHC). The Catholics have their scary nun stories. What do UUs have? Scary stories of RE teachers that reeked of patchouli? Part of it is that most of us came to UU as an adult and of own free will.

I don't know how UU comedy would translate to a more general audience. Maybe that's the reason PHC only appears on NPR. Could a UU comedian make it in mainstream comedy?

Anonymous said...

You are totally funny--that 1971 Sears catalog stuff is 4ever bookmarked on my computer :)

I agree about whites on BET--I hate when white comedians become aware that there are blacks present and suddenly become hyperconscious of race and keep harping on it. I've seen straight people do it around gay people, too.